If the New York Yankees miss the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992 and '93, they won't have to look further than a lack of offense for the reason why it happened.
After another lackluster performance at the plate, the fading Yankees try to avoid a fifth loss in six games when they continue a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.New York (76-73) is last in the AL with 577 runs and has scored six times while losing four of five to fall six games behind Kansas City for the second wild-card spot with 13 games remaining.The Yankees were shut out for the fourth time in 11 games and failed to reach double digits in hits for the ninth straight time in Monday's series-opening 1-0 loss."We're just not hitting for whatever reason," said manager Joe Girardi, whose team was eliminated from AL East title contention. "... Eventually it has to turn, but it needs to turn very quickly."Michael Pineda (3-4, 2.20 ERA) gets the start for the Yankees, and he's recently felt the brunt of the lineup's struggles. New York hasn't scored a single run with him on the mound in his past three starts and was no-hit by Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb for 7 1/3 innings in his last outing Thursday.The right-hander allowed four runs and a career-high 10 hits -- two homers by Yunel Escobar -- in 7 1/3 innings before the Yankees finally broke through and won 5-4 on Chris Young's three-run walkoff homer.Escobar is 6 for 12 in his career against Pineda, who had not faced Tampa Bay since going 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts with Seattle in 2011. Evan Longoria is 0 for 8 with three strikeouts in their matchups.Jake Odorizzi (10-12, 4.08) takes the mound for Tampa Bay (73-78) for the first time since getting roughed up at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. The right-hander entered with a 14 1/3 inning scoreless streak before allowing six runs in 4 1/3 of an 8-5 loss."I'm solely to blame for tonight," said Odorizzi, who was staked to a 4-0 lead after one-half inning. "The loss is on me and the whole team can point the finger in this direction and I'll accept it."Odorizzi is 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA in three starts against the Yankees this season, all in New York. Catcher Brian McCann is 5 for 7 with two homers and a double when facing him, while Derek Jeter is 0 for 6.Jeter is in an 0-for-24 slump and was not in the starting lineup Monday. He's batting .164 (21 for 128) with three extra-base hits in his last 32 games, dropping his average to .250. Jeter entered his final season with a .312 career average."I really haven't thought about it," he said. "I'm just trying to help us win. For me, I just want to go out and I want to play well. I want to get a hit every single time up."Ben Zobrist delivered a walkoff RBI single Monday for the Rays, who became the first team since the 1973-75 Red Sox to beat the Yankees 10 or more times in three straight seasons.Tampa Bay, which will honor Jeter before this game, is looking to win three in a row for the first time since Aug. 13-15.
When Kyle Lohse faces right-handed batters, he locates his breaking ball outside or on the outside part of the strike zone at a success rate of 78.9 percent, the third-highest proportion among qualifying pitchers this season. Jhonny Peralta's swing-and-miss-percentage against outside breaking balls thrown by righties is 46.4 percent, which is in the 80th percentile among qualifying batters this season.